Ohio Jury Convicts Man Who Claimed to Be African Prince on Fraud Crimes

Case Draws Media Coverage in Ghana, Africa
By Janice Hisle
Janice Hisle
Janice Hisle
Janice Hisle writes about a variety of topics, with emphasis on criminal justice news and trends. Before joining The Epoch Times, she worked for more than two decades as a reporter for newspapers in Ohio and authored several books. A graduate of Kent State University's journalism program, she embraces "old-school" journalism with a modern twist. You can reach Janice by email by writing to janice.hisle@epochtimes.us
September 20, 2022 Updated: September 20, 2022

A federal jury has convicted a man of 10 federal fraud charges involving an $800,000 investment scheme in which he claimed to be a “prince” and a “prophet.”

Daryl Robert Harrison, 44, was convicted after a jury deliberated at least 15 hours over the course of two days, concluding a two-week trial in U.S. District Court, Dayton, Ohio.

News media in the African nation of Ghana picked up the story last week because Harrison also used the name, “Prince Daryl Attipoe,” a title that Harrison asserted he was allowed to use after a king “adopted” him in 2015.

Harrison, who was born in Ohio, had traveled to numerous countries including Ghana, records presented in court showed. Authorities said both of his parents were U.S.-born. They also said Harrison had no known “legitimate” source of income as he scammed people in Ohio and elsewhere.

In a verdict filed Sept. 16, the jury convicted Harrison of seven counts of wire fraud, and a count each of witness tampering, mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. Jurors acquitted him of five other charges: two counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and a count of witness tampering.

Epoch Times Photo
The seal of the U.S. District Court adorns a wall on the ninth floor of the Federal Building in Dayton, Ohio, on Sept. 6, 2022. (Photo Courtesy of Victoria Ellen)

Past Crimes To Be Considered

Federal sentencing guidelines are complex, so it’s unclear how much time Harrison could face. Federal officials did not immediately answer a reporter’s email Sept. 19, asking whether prosecutors would recommend a specific sentence, nor did they disclose when Judge Michael Newman might schedule the sentencing.

During Harrison’s trial, Newman blocked jurors from knowing that Harrison had been convicted over a previous Montgomery County investment scheme. The judge stated that the information would be unfairly “prejudicial.”

However, Newman almost certainly will consider the past convictions when he sentences Harrison, Mike Allen, a Cincinnati attorney and legal analyst, told The Epoch Times in a text message Sept. 19.

Harrison pleaded no contest to a charge of aggravated theft and two grand theft charges in 2013, then was ordered to repay three victims a total of more than $150,000, Montgomery County Common Pleas Court records show.

In March 2014, prosecutors alleged that Harrison was failing to repay his victims and also failed to comply with a child support order. Records available online do not make it clear how much money Harrison had failed to pay.

In 2018, a judge acknowledged that Harrison had not met the conditions of his “community control.” Nevertheless,  the judge released Harrison from probation, stating that an extension of the supervision period “will serve no further benefit,” online court records show.

Victims Were Members of His Church

Harrison’s Montgomery County convictions were filed under the name that appears on his birth certificate and U.S. tax returns. Less than a year after pleading no contest in that case, Harrison allegedly began the current scam, which included his use of several aliases.

In a Sept. 19 news release announcing the guilty verdict, the U.S. Department of Justice said that, from January 2014 until September 2020, “Harrison defrauded victims who thought they were investing in African trucking and mining companies.”

Harrison “told investors he had direct connections” with these companies, and they could expect to be paid returns of 28 percent to 33 percent on their investments, the release said.

Further, the release said, Harrison and his stepfather, Robert Shelly Harrison Jr., “claimed to be ministers with Power House of Prayer Ministries,” which sponsored religious services throughout Southwest Ohio and in Parker, Colo. “Many investor victims were members of the congregation,” the release said, alleging that up to 14 people were victimized.

The Harrisons diverted investors’ money to rent a house in Colorado, purchase luxury vehicles, airplane tickets, hotel accommodations, and rental cars, the release said.

Caught Traveling Out-of-State

Harrison was indicted in 2020 under his usual name along with the aliases, “Prince Daryl Attipoe” and “Prophet Daryl Attipoe.” A resident of Colorado since late 2019, Harrison was free on bond for about a year.

However, federal court records show that his bond was revoked after he was caught violating the conditions of his pretrial release.

In September 2021, an officer pulled over Harrison for a traffic stop in Cheyenne, Wyo.

That happened while Harrison was apparently traveling to Chardon, Neb., “to preach unannounced at a local church revival,” federal court records say. The trip from his home in Parker, Colo., to that destination would have taken almost five hours by vehicle.

Meanwhile, Harrison had continued contacting a victim in the federal case and was telling her “that she has been ‘brainwashed’ and ‘lied to’ by law enforcement authorities,” a federal court record shows.

In October 2021, Harrison was booked into a Douglas County, Colo., jail as “a fugitive from justice.”

Shortly after that, the U.S. Marshals Service transported Harrison to Ohio to await trial. The trial was originally set for January but was delayed until March, and then September, at his lawyer’s request. Newman refused a request for a third delay.

Epoch Times Photo
The Federal Building in Dayton, Ohio, includes the U.S. District Court where Daryl Robert Harrison, 44, stood for trial on 16 federal charges, beginning on Sept. 6, 2022. (Janice Hisle/The Epoch Times)

Not a Pastor

When Harrison testified last week, he asserted that he considered himself to be both a prince and a prophet, but he denied being a pastor.

He also stated that he held at least a partial legal interest in African mining operations for gold, chrome, and diamonds, as well as other ventures.

Harrison declared that he had intended to make good on promises he made to investors, but the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted his plans. Harrison also claimed that his enemies concocted allegations against him.

His attorney, Christopher Deal, did not respond to a reporter’s Sept. 17 email asking for a reaction to the verdict.

Harrison was being held in the Butler County Jail in Hamilton, Ohio, awaiting sentencing.

Newman, the same judge who presided over Harrison’s trial, has set trial for Harrison’s stepfather, Robert Shelly Harrison Jr., on Dec. 5. That case involves a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.

Janice Hisle
Janice Hisle writes about a variety of topics, with emphasis on criminal justice news and trends. Before joining The Epoch Times, she worked for more than two decades as a reporter for newspapers in Ohio and authored several books. A graduate of Kent State University's journalism program, she embraces "old-school" journalism with a modern twist. You can reach Janice by email by writing to janice.hisle@epochtimes.us